Ethan Couch, the 16-year-old from Keller who drunkenly ran over four pedestrians, then got probation after pleading affluenza, was back in court yesterday to learn the conditions of his sentence.
Reporters were barred from the courtroom by District Judge Jean Boyd, who, according to the Tarrant County DA's office, ordered Couch to spend an undisclosed amount of time at an undisclosed "lock-down residential treatment facility" in an undisclosed location, for which his parents will foot the bill.
For the duration of his 10-year probation, Couch is forbidden from driving, drinking alcohol, and using illegal drugs. If he violates any of those, or other, conditions, he could be sentenced to prison for up to 10 years.
The families of Couch's victims are still mad. Prosecutors, who pushed for Couch to serve prison time, are putting their best spin on a disappointing outcome.
Riley Shaw, chief of the DA's juvenile division, put it like this in a press release: "It is our hope that the attention drawn by this case highlights the dangers associated with driving while intoxicated, and will ensure that a tragedy such as this one will never happen again."
A harsher sentence might have sent a stronger message, but Boyd handed Shaw a lemon. Can't blame the man for trying to make a little lemonade.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.